How can I support small businesses?

I'm sure by now anyone who is active on #Instagram is a little bit fed up of seeing people like myself ranting and raving about the Evil Algorithms which Instagram puts in place for its users.

What is the current Algorithm?

"The new Instagram algorithm dictates the order of the posts that users see when they're scrolling through their feed. Based on specific signals, it prioritizes posts, pushing the most relevant ones towards the top and giving them the most visibility, while other content ends up being placed further down in one's feed." - Shopify, 2019

This means that if you follow 500 accounts, if you only go on Instagram when 150 of them post you will only like those 150 accounts posts. After a short period of this behaviour, Instagram will think you only want to see those 150 accounts, and will prioritise those ones on your feed. I have had friends of mine tell me that they don't see my posts anymore, some of them it is because they never checked Instagram regularly anyway, some of them because they didn't realise that liking posts meant they would see more of those particular accounts.

So if a small business has 700 followers, only 200 of those followers may actually be seeing their content! And when you factor in that less than 50% of people actively click "like" on photos they see, that comes down to, say, 70 accounts. Sad, right?

Hopefully you can see now how this can and is affecting small businesses.

So, what can we all do to support small businesses who are getting left in the dust because of this?

Supporting small businesses doesn't always mean buying their wares or services, there are plenty of ways to support them without parting with your hard earned cash!

1) LIKE and COMMENT on their photographs. This will increase the chances of their accounts being discovered by other people who don't already follow them...and it always feels good to have lots of like and comments, let's be real!

2) TAG friends on posts who you think will like the image or product on show. "@floydyfloyd, check out these amazing trousers!".

3) SHARE posts to your Instagram stories. This is a really simple one, you just click the arrow as shown in the image below, and it takes you through to add it to your stories! The magic part is that then anyone who views your story can tap on the image and be taken straight through to the post! I really love this feature on Instagram!

4) BELIEVE IN THEM. You'd be surprised at the amount of other small biz owners and creatives who share the experience of friends, family and COMPLETE STRANGERS asking them when they're going to get a "proper job", and refer to their small business as "your little hobby". Not only is this insulting, it is demoralising and makes each of us question our talents. Tell them you like their latest design, or even offer constructive advice! "I really love your latest painting, wouldn't it look awesome if you used pink instead of green!" Be kind, recommend them to people. Ask for some of their business card to give out to people! So much of my work comes from word of mouth, you'd be surprised how often you could help your friend with word of mouth sales!

What is your take on the Instagram Algorithm? Do you have any tips for keeping up on Insta? Let me know in the comments!

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